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The Cook

The Cook [Kindle Edition]

Wayne Macauley
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Product Description


'A riot of a novel. Gripping and subversive' Nick Cave.

'A deliciously dark satire about foodyism, celebrity chefs and aspiring consumerism ... Macauley's stream-of-consciousness prose has a compulsive vitality' Daily Mail.

'Much of this book seems grotesque, but don't be fooled into thinking it's not real ... each time you think you've reached the limits of this thought-provoking and brilliant novel, it just gets deeper' Scarlett Thomas, Guardian.

'Reminds us just how exciting it is to read a wonderful and original novel' Lloyd Jones, author of Mister Pip.

'A marvellous experiment in voice ... assays fine dining and late capitalism' Financial Times.

Product Description

Don't let the fact this blurb is unusual stop you reading this book there really are few books like it. Yes it has cooking as an underlying theme like many other books but what those books don't have is sheer passion and inspiration and motivation and drive. It is a story about having the will and strength to succeed that is to say knowing what you are and knowing what you want to be and working as hard as it takes to get where you belong.

At seventeen Zac is given a choice: either go to a young offenders' institute, or enrol in a rehabilitation scheme - a course that teaches juveniles how to cook. He makes his choice. He chooses to cook. He also chooses to succeed. Whatever it takes.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 367 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (25 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009LHXLD6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #266,529 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Tasty Read 7 Nov 2012
Take Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential'. Add a heap of rabid ambition and a glug - no, make that a bucket-full - of gore, and you get, more or less, Wayne Macauley's wildly entertaining tale of a teenage delinquent turned aspiring chef, The Cook (pub. Quercus).
Actually, for all its obvious comparisons with Bourdain's biographical account of his life in the world's high-end, high-testosterone kitchens, it has to be stressed that as a work of fiction, 'The Cook' is entirely unique.
This is the account of seventeen-year-old Zac, who is given the choice of either going to a young offenders' institution or enrolling in a rehabilitation scheme that teachers troubled teenagers how to cook. The more Zac learns, the more he becomes convinced he has found his true calling in life, and the more determined he is to succeed, whatever it takes.
Armed with a copy of 'Larousse' plucked from the kitchen shelves, Zac immerses himself in basic techniques before he becomes, like Bourdain, obsessed with stretching boundaries, until his nascent desire to serve, to please, to succeed, threatens to spiral dangerously out of control.
This is not a book for avowed vegetarians or the easily queazy. There is a lot of fattening and slaughtering involved. Try this bite-sized chunk for size:

'My next challenge was agnelet. Milk lamb three to four weeks old four to five kilos in weight born in winter raised indoors fed milk only the meat very tender and delicate. I moved my lamb pens closer to the house and made three more for my pregnant ewes each ewe a bit bigger that than the next. I got Terry to show me how to spot a pregnant one and the ones I spotted I put in my pens.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Succulence of the Lambs" 6 Jan 2014
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Narrator Zac arrives at a rural outpost to learn to be a cook. The facility is an Australian backwoods version of Jamie Oliver's 'Fifteen' project and is owned by a famous tv chef. Along with Zac are a dozen or so other delinquents all of whom have been sent there by the authorities to try and make something of themselves. Will Zac succeed? Will any of them?

Once you have adjusted to the rhythm of the prose and the punctuation (or lack thereof), you realise that the author has caught Zac's young voice perfectly: "We spend our whole lives being desperate in some way or other trying to please someone the teacher the duty manager the cop the juvenile justice worker always with secret little gestures and thoughts burrowing into their good books but out there in the kitchen that night with four VIPs asking to be served the desperation was out in the open I can't think of anything more honest and the triumph at the end was something to treasure and once you've felt it well."

But be prepared: this book contains some explicit descriptions of butchery. Those without strong stomachs may well wish to avert their gaze from the 'fluffy-lamb-to-loin-chops' passages.

Wayne Macauley is clearly a talent to watch. The authentic prose style of The Cook makes it a challenging but rewarding read with one of the most surprising endings I have read in a long time. Hmmm...a vegetarian dish for supper tonight, I think.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Russian Roulette in the Kitchen 4 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Chef School for delinquents is an interesting ramble that kept me interested enough to get to the end which seemed abrupt, shocking and dissatisfying. Zac takes us through his cookery trials at breakneck speed and it's so fast some things were lost in translation. Sheep take up a good deal of the story which is entertaining, however unlikely that sounds, and is a new take on learning to cook. I think it's a tongue in cheek tale of gung ho nothing to lose hero worship and I would strongly suggest you read the last part on an empty stomach as it's revolting! Well worth reading and I expect Mr MacCauley will continue to surprise us in the future. Thank you for writing - I haven't been so surprised by a book in some time...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising 25 Oct 2013
By geckozo
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was very readable, with the main character being someone you instantly cared about. It is well written and had me hooked right from the start. It's hard to describe the impact of this book without giving anything away, so I'll just recommend that you read it yourself.
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